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  Canada  

 

Fair land of peace!--to Britain's rule and throne
Adherent still, yet happier than alone,
And free as happy, and as brave as free,
Proud are thy children--justly proud, of thee!

Thou hast no streams renowned in classic lore,
No vales where fabled heroes moved of yore,
No hills where Poesy enraptured stood,
No mythic fountains, no enchanted wood;
But unadorned, rough, cold, and often stern,
The careless eye to other lands might turn,
And seek, where Nature's bloom is more intense,
Softer delights to charm the eye of sense.

But we who know thee, proudly point the hand
Where thy broad rivers roll serenely grand--
Where, in still beauty 'neath our northern sky,
Thy lordly lakes in solemn grandeur lie,--
Where old Niagara's awful voice has given
The flood's deep anthem to the ear of heaven
Through the long ages of the vanished past,
Through Summer's bloom, and Winter's angry blast--
Nature's proud utterance of unwearied song,
Now, as at first, majestic, solemn, strong,
And ne'er to fail, till the archangel's cry
Shall still the million tones of earth and sky,
And send the shout to ocean's farthest shore--
"Be hushed ye voices--time shall be no more!"

Few are the years that have sufficed to change
This whole broad land by transformation strange;
Once, far and wide, the unbroken forests spread
Their lonely wastes, mysterious and dread--
Forests, whose echoes never had been stirred
By the sweet music of an English word,--
Where only rang the red-browed hunter's yell,
And the wolfs howl thro' the dark, sunless dell.

Now, fruitful fields and waving orchard-trees
Spread their rich treasures to the summer breeze.
Yonder, in queenly pride, a city stands,
Whence stately vessels speed to distant lands;--
Here smiles a hamlet thro' embowering green,
And there, the statelier village-spires are seen;--
Here, by the brook-side, clacks the noisy mill,

There, the white homestead nestles to the hill;--
The modest school-house here flings wide its door
To smiling crowds that seek its simple lore;--
There, Learning's statelier fane of massive walls
Wooes the young aspirant to classic halls;
And bids him in her hoarded treasures find
The gathered wealth of every gifted mind.

Here, too, we see, in primal freshness still,
The cool, calm forest nodding on the hill;
And o'er the quiet valley, clustering green,
The tall trees linked in brotherhood serene,
Fattening from year to year the soil below,
Which shall in time with golden harvests glow;
And yield more wealth to Labor's sturdy hands,

Than fabled Eldorado's yellow sands.
Where once, with thundering din, in years by-gone,
The heavy waggon labored slowly on
Thro' dreary swamps by rudest causeways spanned,
With shaggy cedars dark on either hand,
Where wolves oft howled in nightly chorus drear,
And boding owls mocked the lone traveller's fear,

Now, o'er the stable Rail the Iron-horse
Sweeps proudly on in his exultant course,
Bearing in his impetuous flight along,
The freighted car with all its living throng,
At speed which rivals in its onward flight,
The bird's free wing thro' azure fields of light.

Wealth of the forest, treasures of the hills,
Majestic rivers, fertilizing rills,
Expansive lakes, rich vales, and sunny plains,
Vast fields where yet primeval nature reigns,
Exhaustless treasures of the teeming soil--
These loudly call to enterprising Toil

Nor vainly call. From lands beyond the sea,
Strong men have turned, O Canada, to thee,--
Turned from their father's graves, their native shore,
Smiling to scorn the flood's tempestuous roar,
Gladly to find where broader, ampler room
Allured their steps, a happy, Western home.

The toil-worn peasant looked with eager eyes
O'er the blue waters, to those distant skies;
Where no one groaned 'neath unrequited toil,
Where the strong laborer might own the soil
On which he stood; and, in his manhood's strength,
Smile to behold his growing fields at length;--
Where his brave sons might easily obtain
The lore for which their father sighed in vain,
And, in a few short seasons, take their stand
Among the learned and gifted of the land,

Could ocean-barriers avail to keep
That yearning heart in lands beyond the deep?
No!--the sweet vision of a home--his own,
Haunted his days of toil, his midnights lone;
Till, gath'ring up his little earthly store,
Boldly he sought this far-off Western shore,
In a few years to realize far more
Than in his wildest dreams he hoped before.
We cannot boast those skies of milder ray,
'Neath which the orange mellows day by day,
Where the Magnolia spreads its snowy flowers,
And Nature revels in perennial bowers,--
Here, Winter holds his long and solemn reign,
And madly sweeps the desolated plain,--
But Health and Vigor hail the wintry strife,
With all the buoyant glow of happy life,
And, by the blazing chimney's cheerful hearth,
Smile at the blast 'mid songs and household mirth.

Here Freedom looks o'er all those broad domains,
And hears no heavy clank of servile chains,
Here man, no matter what his skin may be,
May stand erect and proudly say "I'M FREE!"
No crouching slaves cower in our busy marts,
With straining eyes and anguish riven hearts!

The beam that gilds alike the palace walls
And lowly hut, with genial radiance falls
On peer and peasant,--but the lowliest here
Walks in the sunshine, free as is a peer.
Proudly he stands with muscles strong and free,
The serf--the slave of no man, doomed to be.
His own, the arm the heavy axe that wields,--
His own, the hands that till the summer fields,--
His own, the babes that prattle in the door,--
His own, the wife that treads the cottage floor,
All the sweet ties of life to him are sure,
All the proud rights of MANHOOD are secure!

Fair land of peace' Oh mayest thou ever be,
Even as now, the land of LIBERTY!--
Treading serenely the bright upward road,
Honored of nations and approved of God,--
On thy fair brow emblazoned clear and bright,
FREEDOM, FRATERNITY, AND EQUAL RIGHT!

       - Mrs. J. C. Yule


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